It's been a long day- got up and packed my tent and hit the course at 7:00am sharp. After hitting Bismarck, during the round at Sunset I almost decided to change my route because the course was just miserable. I am now camping right below a mountain base in the badlands of North Dakota. All I have is the computer battery and a weak sprint signal, so it won't be a long one.
Bismarck, ND- Lions Hillside:Very short and hilly course, winding it's way up and around and down a large hill dotted with medium sized trees, some tunnels. Fairly technical, although most holes are putter shots, and there's no need for a driver. Several shots over small trees and bushes. Flows well, decently well marked. The tees are dirt and very rutted.
Bismarck, ND- General Sibley:Long and very demanding, it's non-stop relentless hole after hole of 400-600' tough par 3's and par 5's even. Mostly flat, next to a large camping area and a dry river. It will test everything you got and more because it's 24 holes. Otherwise a great course, it is lacking in one area- there are no pin positions markers, and with some holes either being 300' and to the left or 600' and to the right, both basket positions tucked right behind a tree so as to make it impossible to see until you walk all the way up to it, it can be tough to navigate and play for the first time. With 24 long holes and that, it takes over 2 hours to play.
Mandan, ND- Sunset:Chock full of blind shots, high grass, blankets of poison ivy and winds so strong my hat flew away into the woods and I decided to just stop trying to wear one. My star Max again, this time a brand new one, could not even go 200' without either flipping or riding up and coming back to me. In these conditions, it's hardly a game anymore.
Dickinson, ND- Jaycees:Every hole is about 200', mostly open but with a few tunnel shots. There is a water hazard, and it should be ridiculously easy because it's designed for kids. With this wind, on one hole, my drive went over the basket, then flipped up and came back 150' toward me then dive-bombed into the tall reeds of a dry swamp. I probably covered 350' of air travel, but only ended up 50' off the tee. It's not even enjoyable anymore in this wind, can't even lay-up from 10'.
Dickinson- Optimist @ Memorial:Fairly hard to navigate, the first hole has 2 baskets right in front of it and I choose poorly I learned later. 12 holes, with a few big long open holes, and a few tight tunnels. Mostly wide open or with several good trees. Extreme wind again. Plays down then across and up a small hill and finishes in a field on top.
Dickinson, ND- Patterson Lake:I'm probably going to hurt someone's feelings here and cause a lot an anger, but just learn to live with it. It is my opinion. I pretty much feel this course is an utter waste of baskets and land. The land could have had the potential for a world-class course, or even a decent one. I couldn't figure out many of the last half of the holes, even after walking around in circles for half an hour and not finding any tees or marking, just tons of baskets. Holes 2-9 pretty much all have a crazy thing going on. Hole #2's basket is in the woods at the end of a big field bomb, but the basket is tucked way left behind a row of trees too thick to shortcut through, so you have to land at the edge of the woods and lay-up 20' then putt, or get it into the woods then right if you can even throw that far and tell where you need to be from 400' back. The next two holes tee from in the woods, out at a 45 degree angle, then into the open and back into the woods again, leaving you clueless of the tee. The shots on those holes are just unconventional and unrealistic. Especially since one of them has a double mando. Then, there's a 700' wide open hole..wide open if you make it through the less than 5' gap 50' in front of the tee. Hole #9 is where it got crazy, with a 600"+ tunnel shot that's 5' or less wide at times, with thick woods and fence on right, and open on left of that tree row, but then it's OB like 20' left of that, and that open space has tons of trees, so you can pitch out to open left off the tee, then try to throw a turnover around trees blindly, staying in bounds or going back into woods, or try to throw a 600' straight shot with wind coming at you at 60mph. Then there are 2 baskets perched on the edge of a cliff (50+' straight up over water), one of which is artificially heightened on a higher pole, which is just absurd anywhere let alone by a cliff. I understand someone loves this course, I'm sure some people give it a 4 out of 5. From a realistic standpoint I'd give it 1.5 of 5. Don't be a hater.